Entwined by Heather Dixon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
So, I’d like to take a moment before actually getting into the book to say that I primarily picked Entwined up because I thought the cover was so beautiful. Book covers are very important. Like this book, I have picked up many novels based on the attractiveness of their covers. Now that I have actually read it, the cover makes perfect sense as well.
However, this book is deceptive. It is parading about as a mildly childlike tale about sisters and dancing and magic, when really, there is some pretty horrifying stuff going on. I was a teensy bit bored with the beginning of the book, which mostly had to do with introducing the myriad of characters and showing how woeful it was that all the princess’s were in mourning for their mother’s death. Not a whole lot happened, except for getting to know the delightful cast of characters, and finding out that Heather Dixon REALLY wanted you to know that pretty much the only thing the girls cared about was dancing. There was a bit of a tone shift half way through the book when things started getting really interesting.
I am not very familiar with the Fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princess’s. I mean, I guess I am now that I’ve read Entwined. The twelve princess’s were all very charming; Azalea had her moments where I sort of wanted to kill her. She wasn’t all that bad. There were many moments where I quite liked her. But I thought she was slightly…weak? Maybe it’s just the difference of time period, where women didn’t have much power (although the princess’s had much more power over their father than they imagined). Now, her strength came out in the end. And it was wonderful how willing she was to sacrifice for her sisters. Because their mother died, she became responsible for them. The King had to go off to war, even though he probably wouldn’t have been much help anyway.
I LOVED the development of the King’s relationship with his daughters. I KNEW from the very beginning that he loved them. I KNEW IT. The Princess’s think he hates them. This storyline was adorable and heartwarming. The poor King had a rough go of it. His wife died and his daughters pretty much refused to listen to anything he said. Then he had to go off to war, leaving his daughters thinking he hates them. Which of course he didn’t, but they didn’t understand that. So he doesn’t communicate well. He doesn’t know how to relate to a bunch of teenage girls. He’s lost without his wife, whom he very obviously was madly in love. I felt so bad for him. But he started softening when he spent more time with his children.When they started calling him Papa, it was cuter than this insanely adorable meme:
And then suddenly, they realized they loved him, and it was all like Captain Von Trapp from the Sound of Music:
Except…without the singing.
THE ROMANCE. I FELT LIKE I WAS IN A JANE AUSTEN NOVEL.
Mr. Bradford and Azalea. Holy moly. They were so adorable. I found myself yearning for him to just randomly show up so they could explode with cuteness. Like this:
But seriously. Their relationship was really not one of Insta-love, which made it even more fabulous. It developed slowly and beautifully. He honestly didn’t show up enough, in my opinion. But he certainly was there when it mattered. And Azalea deserved someone like Bradford. She, being the heir to the throne, assumed that her marriage would be arranged, and it was a constant worry of hers, no matter how many times her father assured her that he wouldn’t make her marry someone she didn’t like. Bradford was so sweet and understanding and adorable, and Azalea loved him far before she realized.
KEEPER. Oh goodness, Keeper. You are one creepy fellow. I didn’t like you from the beginning. Your whole, beautiful silver pavilion full of beautiful dancers was too good and magical to be true. But for some reason, Azalea was like “DANCING. Oh yes! Anything that lets us dance must be wondrous indeed!” That’s not a direct quote. But I thought it was rather ridiculous. Maybe I was just so in love with Bradford that I didn’t even care about Keeper, but I pegged him as a bad dude from the first time you met him. I felt like there was supposed to be something of a love triangle, but I wasn’t buying it. The girls were way too trusting of him, especially Azalea. It was slightly irritating.
And then, things like this started happening:
This magic castle has magic objects! An animated candlestick? A magic tea-set? The candlestick of course made me think of Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast, but the tea set and other objects hearkened back to Harry Potter for me. Anything that makes me think of HP is a good thing in my book.
This book was a really pleasant surprise. The language was lovely and elegant, fitting the style of the book, and the characters were charming and loveable (EXCEPT FOR YOU KEEPER). A rather intense and terrifying conflict arose in the middle of the book, followed by lots of fun shenanigans with the sisters and a long list of possible suitors for Azalea (probably one of my favorite parts). The romances of the three eldest princess’s are adorable and well-timed. And the King. Oh the super fabulous story line of the King. He and Bradford really made this book for me. Azalea’s relationship with both was positively spectacular.
Content: Recommended for 14+